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Machines
Art Deco Majesty
A Clockwork Folly
An Old Brownie Movie Camera Put To Bad Use
The Zig-Zagging Rolling Ball Machine
Ballet With Three Pendulums
Art Deco Elegance And The Mystery Arm
Victor Rat Trap No. 1
Victor Rat Trap No. 2
Victor Rat Trap No. 3
Wimshurst Electrical Discharge Machine
Up One Spiral And Down The Other
Mechanical Snakedance
The Altar Of Complexity
La Grande Machine: A Towering Mechanical Symphony
About
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About The Artist
 

 I've been conflicted most of my life. Am I an artist...or an engineer? While the answer still eludes me, this conflict is reflected in the nature of my 'machines'.

I've always been fascinated with the technology and craftsmanship of the past. There's just something about the mad ingenuity of Victorian inventors and Renaissance men that I've always found appealing. Perhaps, in addition to being born in the wrong age, my conflict stems from being German and Hungarian--a curious blend which has made me a methodical perfectionist, prone to bouts of dark whimsy and crazed obsession.

Regardless, as a shy, imaginative child growing up during the (now mythical) 1950s, I not only enjoyed creating art, I also used to tinker with all kinds of mechanical things with my father. (Of course, my mother never approved of such 'silliness'.) Later, I was trained as an engineer during the golden age of the slide rule, but I always felt frustrated, since engineering never allowed me to express my true creativity. Bored with the drudgery of the corporate engineering world, yet alienated from the pretentious nonsense of the art world, I felt lost. It was during the 1980s that I eventually gravitated toward something in my spare time that began to satisfy my two sides. Hence, my machines were born.

While my machines were never intended for public consumption, I was finally convinced to have them displayed here. This was a big step for me, because not only am I a loner, I also feel rather protective of my machines, for I view them as my temperamental children...sometimes they please me, sometimes they frustrate me, but they never cease to fascinate me.

As with any addiction, I always swear off all mechanical things upon completion of a machine. However, after several months, the urge to create bubbles up once again, and I experience a curious mixture of dread and excitement...guilt and defiance. "Shouldn't I be in the office making money?" "Am I wasting my time?" And the old unanswered question: "Am I an artist, or an engineer?"

After much introspection, all I know is that I truly enjoy working on my machines, particularly while sipping on a few martinis (I try to stay away from rotating machinery after my second one), and if I can share my enjoyment with others, then perhaps it's not such a waste of time after all.

And so, I welcome you, dear reader, to my little world of "Mechanical Curiosities."

Edmund Dohnert

 
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